AIMED at encouraging safe community participation in coastal water activities, the City of Wanneroo adopted its final coastal aquatic safety policy last month.
The policy covers all beach activities in the City and aims to prevent drowning deaths, near drownings and related injuries along the coast.
“The policy is solely associated with the beach area and coastal waters and refers to activities specifically undertaken in these settings, such as swimming, snorkelling, fishing, etc,” the November council report said.
“It does not include other recreational activities associated with the coastline or foreshore such as dunes, access tracks or carparks – these are captured in the City’s coastal management plan, foreshore management plans and other ongoing bodies of work in this area.”
The City developed the policy in response to a 1247-signature petition submitted after two people drowned at Claytons Beach, Mindarie in January and March 2013.
The policy said the City prioritised giving visitors “safe and rewarding” experiences as well as managing public risk.
“The ability for each beach user to recreate safely will depend on each individual’s capability, experience and familiarity with that specific beach environment,” it said.
The City installed signs at beaches to highlight hazards specific to each site, and encourages residents to check tidal conditions before entering the water.
“The City is responsible for the closure of beaches if hazards are identified which could pose a risk to the community,” the policy said.
“Such incidences include beach cleaning, unsafe beach access, coastal construction works, shark sightings or attacks, dead animals on the beach, in response to an accident or drowning incident and during other maintenance works.”
To implement the policy, seasonal volunteer and paid patrols supervise Quinns Beach and Yanchep Lagoon.
The policy also requires the City to provide opportunities for community aquatic education and information, delivered through Surf Life Saving WA’s BeachSAFE program.
It also requires the City to work with relevant stakeholders to promote local First Aid or CPR training and education, plus learn to swim, swimming fitness and surf activity and survival programs.
The policy will be reviewed by the City every three years.